Nervously picking out flowers for my bouquet the morning of my wedding, the florist asked if this was a rush marriage. I shook my head. “We’ve been planning it for a couple of weeks.” So, yeah, it was a rush wedding with a $30 dress from Forever XXI and no Pinterest-perfect colour coordination. I laughed and explained that my soon-to-be hubby had proposed with a jewellery box filled with sushi during my visit to Montana, USA from Manitoba, Canada, only a few weeks earlier.
The day we met, when I asked Luke if he’d ever been married, he said no. He didn’t really believe in marriage. I was of the same mind. But if we wanted to live in the same country, tying the knot was the way to go. Six months later, we agreed to have a tiny ceremony, with only our parents and the officiators present, at his dad’s farm.
The dogs brought their muddy, drool-covered tennis balls to us as we said our vows, trying to get us to play a round of fetch. The wind blew our camera stand over mid-video and had me squinting in many of the photos. In the video you can see our parents stepping out of place to take pictures with their cellphones, making the whole affair feel rather chaotic.
For a couple whose biggest priority when looking for a venue was somewhere the dogs could join in, this was pretty much perfect.
So, why do I get a pang of jealousy when I see my Facebook friends post professionally shot photos of their big day, complete with a pricey white dress and carefully arranged bouquets? Suddenly, the long white and pink dress I wore doesn’t feel so beautiful and I’m no longer in love with the hodgepodge of flowers I held.
Having a fairytale wedding was something I dreamt about as a little girl. While I know it’s not something I would ever want for myself now, it’s hard not to feel like I somehow missed out.
When I admitted to my husband that I was sad we didn’t get to do the fun things other couples do at their wedding — the bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and afternoon of staged photos—he pointed out that our wedding was beautiful, too. It was special, for us. I begrudgingly nodded in agreement, knowing I loved our wedding but still feeling left out.
What he didn’t point out was that we also missed out on a lot of the stress that comes with that traditional fairytale wedding. When my mother said my chosen dress was “Nice, for a summer dress,” I laughed at the comment. It’s not as if I was spending hundreds on the thing, so what of it if the mother of the bride wasn’t thrilled? I didn’t have to tell some friends they’d been chosen to stand with me at the alter while others would be left out. Family didn’t have to travel across the continent to give us their love and support. And, best of all, we spent a whopping $300 on the day, most of which went towards getting the paperwork and someone authorized to sign it.
We also forewent the honeymoon. Having only done long distance prior to the wedding, just being together was special enough. Instead, we found a clearing in the forest the Saturday after the wedding, pitched a tent and lazed around for a day. Leaning back in a lawn chair, listening to my husband play his violin, I was in bliss. But it was in no way different than if we weren’t married.
As the weeks have worn on and we’ve fallen more and more into a routine, I sometimes slip up and accidentally refer to him as my boyfriend, as if nothing has changed, because it feels like nothing has. Having spent so little on the wedding, this isn’t a disappointment. In fact, it’s what I expected. But I imagine I wouldn’t feel the same way if I’d spent a year perfecting every detail of our big day. And, had we done that, I’m sure there would still be things I wish we had done differently. Maybe I’d even wish we’d opted for small affair that only took two weeks of planning. In the end, I’m glad we had the most us day we possibly could have—cheap, dirty and intimate.
Our wedding photos don’t show a picture-perfect couple with their picture-perfect family. But they show so much love. And that’s all a wedding should be about, whether you spend $300 or $300,000.